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Tamworth Arts Centre : History

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Tamworth Herald – 05/07/85
Cash crisis revealed - A shutdown threat to Arts Centre?
TAMWORTH Arts Centre could close down next year unless more money is found to fund it.

A five-year grant to the Arts Centre from the Borough council is due to run out in spring 1986. There are no plans for any more direct financial aid, and the centre has not sufficient funds to be self-supporting, it has been revealed.

Members of the Tamworth Arts Advisory Council were told at their annual meeting by centre administrator Mr. Nicholas Ewbank: “The Arts Centre will not be able to continue to operate without a considerable degree of financial aid from the Borough Council.”

He said his latest report from the accountant showed that by April next year, without a further cash injection, the centre’s assets would be exceeded by its liabilities. The only financially viable move to take would be to shut it down altogether.

£10,000 grant

Five years ago the borough council awarded the Arts Centre, which is run by the voluntary Arts Advisory Council, and initial £10,000 grant. Since then the annual grant has decreased each year, the intention being that at the end of the five years the centre would be self-supporting.

Tamworth Herald – 12/07/85
What a rush to save the Centre!
RESPONSE to the campaign to save Tamworth Arts Centre from the threat of closure has been “magnificent”.

Over 1,000 people have already signed a petition appealing to the Borough Council to continue to help fund the Church Street centre.

Manager – Mr. Nicholas Ewbank – said no-one had been pressed to sign the petition.

“What is so encouraging is that people have been coming into the centre asking what they can do to help,” he said.

“The response from the public has been marvellous. Clearly people are very worried.”

Running out

A five-year grant to the Arts Centre from the Borough Council is due to run out next year, and the building could then face closure unless the council continues to give financial aid.

Mr. Ewbank said talks were being held with councillors, and council officers to discuss the situation.

The Arts Centre is run by the voluntary Tamworth Arts Advisory Council, although the building itself is owned by the Borough Council.


Tamworth Herald – 12/07/85
Young folks fear closure - ‘Band aid’ for town’s arts centre
YOUNG TAMWORTH MUSICIANS, alarmed by a closure threat facing the town’s Arts Centre, are planning a series of money-raising concerts.

The events, starting tomorrow (Saturday) are being arranged by local bands as their attempt to stave off a cash crisis that hangs over the building.

“Without the Arts Centre, bands like us would have nowhere to play and we wouldn’t be here now,” said Paul Keeton, singer with Sacred Oath who are staging tomorrow night’s event.

“It is a terrible situation and I am sure a lot of bands will be keen to help out the Arts Centre,” said Paul.

The group have chosen the Arts Centre itself to stage Saturday night’s show. And they are convinced it will be the first of many such concerts.

“We are also thinking about setting up a 12-hour sponsored show involving a host of bands with all of the money going to the Arts Centre,” said Paul.


Sacred Oath say the loss of the Arts Centre would not only destroy the Tamworth rock scene but would also be a body-blow to everyone else in the town who likes live entertainment.

“It is a unique centre in Tamworth. Without it the bottom would fall out of the cultural scene and we must do everything we can,” said the group’s drummer Josef Pighand.

Arts Centre administrator Nick Ewbank said he was ‘overwhelmed’ at the enthusiasm of local groups about the concert venue.

“There has been a very positive response and it shows that the Arts Centre is very important to a lot of young people in the town,” he said.

Saturday night’s show starts at 8pm and all the proceeds from the 60p entrance fee will go to the Arts Centre.

Tamworth Herald – 06/09/85
Musicbox – Pretty Pennies
ANOTHER Save The Arts Centre concert takes place next weekend featuring one of the venue’s most prolific attendants, Sitting Pretty.

Tickets for the show are available now from the band members and at just 50p it is certainly with supporting. More details in next week’s Musicbox.

Tamworth Herald – 22/11/85
Day of fun at the Arts Centre
IT’S party time this weekend as Tamworth Arts Centre celebrates its 10th anniversary. Local people will be joining in the celebrations, and to mark the occasion in theatrical style, resident puppet company “Roadworks” is laying on a specially written show telling the story of the Church Street centre.

The puppet production is among a whole host of free fun attractions aimed at bringing crowds in droves to a special birthday Open Day at the Arts Centre from 10am onwards tomorrow (Saturday).

There will be an exotic dance displays by an Indian dancer and the Arts Centre’s youth theatre, the Saturday Club, will be performing sketches.

Local artists will be demonstrating their skills and selling their work. There will be a unique display of paper sculpture which includes a motorbike made entirely of card, and exhibitions of puppets, masks and photographs.

Arts Centre staff will be giving tours of the 200-year-old building and kids visiting the snack bar will be given lollipops and balloons.

The day’s artistic events culminate with a performance of Shakespeare’s “Measure for Measure” in the evening by Bardovan Theatre Company. Among the stars is Tamworth’s town crier, professional actor Harold Rhead.

“The Arts Centre was opened just a decade ago, and we thought that was a good enough excuse to celebrate. I was hoping the Open Day will attract a lot of newcomers to the centre,” said administrator Nick Ewbank.

Roadworks’ anniversary show features three little puppet pigs. Its title “Bacon and Egg” is inspired partly by its characters and partly by Tamworth’s notorious traffic island.

Tamworth Herald – 29/11/85
How centre will spend £50,000
MAJOR IMPROVEMENTS are on the cards for Tamworth Arts Centre following the news of a £50,000 cash handout from the borough council.

There are hopes to use the cash which will be given out in grants over the next two years, to develop the 200-year-old building in Church Street as a centre of artistic excellence renowned throughout the Midlands.

The Arts Centre looked like being forced to close down die to crippling financial crisis before the borough council stepped in with the lifesaving grant.

Now the centre is being given £40,000 to spend on improvements to the building over the next two years along with a £5,000 grant per year to spend on running costs.


Among priorities for improvements is the replacement of obsolete stage lighting equipment, refurbishment of the interior of the building and installation of new seats in the theatre.

Administrator Nick Ewbank said: “It is still very early days to say what we will do with the money. The wonderful news is still sinking in and we will have to have long talks with the council.

“The money will allow us to realise the potential of the arts centre both as an historic building and as a centre of artistic excellence.

“I’d like to see the arts centre busy with artistic activities every day. We want to provide workshops and courses for the unemployed and the handicapped.”


Nick is also hoping to be able to equip the centre with small printing facilities for the production of posters and of the centre’s news sheet Paper D’Art.

“From now on we will be working much closer with the council and there is a possibility that they will subsidise some of our professional shows from their own promotion budget,” he said.

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